Merriebelle Stable's Blue Prize (ARG) ran down odds-on favorite Elate in the final sixteenth of a mile, winning the 64th running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) by a half-length before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 10,303 at Keeneland.
Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by Joe Bravo, Blue Prize earned a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. She finished fourth in the Distaff last year at Churchill Downs.
“She means a lot to me,” said Correas. “The horses of my country (he is also a native of Argentina) have made me look good. Thanks to the trainers that trained them before me – they did a great job developing them. To tell you that I thought I was going to beat Elate, I would be lying. I thought she (Blue Prize) was sitting on a great race. She was coming into form. When we went to Saratoga, we were looking to put her in winning mode. We accomplished that (with a victory in the Aug. 18 Summer Colony Stakes). I thought if (jockey Joe Bravo) could relax her and if she had a target, she's going to run big. Elate is a great, great mare.”
The 6-year-old Blue Prize also became the fourth horse to win the race in consecutive years with the most recent being Take Charge Lady in 2002-2003. Other horses to do it were Bayakoa (ARG) (1989-1990) and Bornastar (1957-1958).
Also earning Breeders' Cup berths Sunday were a pair of 2-year-olds, JSM Equine's Peace Achieved, who won the 29th running of the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3), and Ten Broeck Farm's Kimari, winner of the second running of the $200,000 Indian Summer.
In the Juddmonte Spinster, She's a Julie led the field of five through fractions of :24.25, :48.63 and 1:13.12 with Vexatious in closest pursuit and Elate to the outside and Dunbar Road on the rail running a joint third.
In the stretch, Elate and Dunbar Road pushed to the front, but Bravo had Blue Prize rolling on the far outside to wear down the leaders and eventually draw away from Elate in deep stretch.
“Ignacio had her very keen today,” Bravo said. “He said, 'Try to keep her quiet. She's ready to go.' After she broke in front, she got back underneath me. There were some really good horses in there, but she was able to (have) a stalking trip and watch them (in front). We've always said she runs great at a target. She listens to me. I really didn't have to do too much. It's fun to be part of a good horse.”
Blue Prize covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.30. The Juddmonte Spinster victory was worth $300,000 and increased her earnings to $1,592,253 with a record of 22-9-8-3.
Blue Prize is a daughter of Pure Prize out of the Not For Sale mare Blues for Sale.
Blue Prize returned $17.20, $4.40 and $2.40. Elate, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $2.40 and $2.10 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Dunbar Road, who paid $2.20 to show under Javier Castellano. She's a Julie was another 4¾ lengths back in fourth followed by Vexatious.
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